There’s a better use for this: The marquee lights up at 12th Ave Arts

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_0916UPDATE: With speeches from a stage full of the movers and shakers who made the project happen, artists, and city and state officials, 12th Ave Arts opened its doors Thursday night.

Calling the project a new “center of community life” for Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill Housing CEO Chris Persons thanked the more than 200 capital donors who made the project possible and made way for a long roster of speakers there to introduce the project to the neighborhood. Rep. Frank Chopp got the audience on its feet to applaud “the Seattle spirit” and christened the largest of the two theater spaces in the facility with its first performance — his reading of the James Oppenheim poem Bread and Roses. The dignitaries even threw a few lines to the theater folk. Strawberry Workshop’s Greg Carter said he was ready to get to work in a building emblematic of Capitol Hill — a neighborhood with an environment open to creating “things that don’t make sense.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Rachel’s Ginger Beer comes home to 12th Ave Arts

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Going to dinner and the theater at Capitol Hill’s 12th Ave Arts might not be the fancy-pants event some might expect. Capitol Hill farmers market born and bred Rachel’s Ginger Beer is finally opening a shop in its home neighborhood with a ginger beer and fry bar inside the new affordable housing + East Precinct parking + theater space + nonprofit office space + three food and drink space development.

“That was so a part of the drinking culture,” the Rachel in RGB told CHS while apologizing for being “boring” with a story about traipsing through Europe. “You get a beer and a bowl of fries.”

Hey, anytime there is traipsing involved, we’re interested. Especially when you’re talking les pommes frites.

Oh là là. Rachel Marshall’s latest Capitol Hill joint is slated to open this spring with all the goodness of Rachel’s Ginger Beer plus “a menu of crispy, hand-cut fries and 15 to 20 dipping sauces, including a fancy ranch.” The bar will serve ginger beer-based and carbonated cocktails. The bubbles will tickle. There will be ice cream for floats and, if you’re an animal, dipping fries. And you’ll be able to fill your growler or grab RGB to go.

“What I picture is kind of a place where you can go during the day and really feel comfortable opening your laptop but can also have a drink,” Marshall said. “And we can go into the night.” Continue reading

SPD releases video in search for Seattle U armed robbery suspects, getaway car

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 4.13.18 PMSPD robbery detectives have released security video and are asking the public’s help identifying the suspects and the getaway car in the November 10th armed robbery in a Seattle University parking lot:

Seattle University Robbery Video Released
Detectives are asking for your help finding two suspects and a getaway driver involved in a Seattle University robbery that happened November 11th (sic).

Officers on Wednesday released surveillance video taken from a Seattle University parking lot that shows two people getting out of a yellow Ford Crown Victoria. A few minutes later the suspects can be seen running back to the getaway car. One of the suspects can be seen turning and apparently point a gun at the victim across the parking lot. The car then pulls away and out of view.

Robbery detectives are asking for any information you may have on this case. Please call them directly at 206-684-5561.

Pixie Pop-up is a magical place sharing raw and baked treats from a 12th Ave doorway

(Images: Pixie Pop-up)

(Images: Pixie Pop-up)

About 10 years ago, Meghan Kroh had a wholesale baking business called Pixie making vegan treats. The business did well, but after about a year and a half, it got to be too much for her.

“I wasn’t prepared for the success,” Kroh said.

But she’s decided to dip her toe back into the baking game with Pixie Pop-up, selling treats and snacks Saturdays in front of People’s Kombucha at 1711 12th Ave.

This time around not all of the goods will be vegan, though vegans will certainly have lots of options, Kroh said. Instead she is focusing on using organic ingredients and cooking “raw.”


Fairy Fuel truffles

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Juicebox, Cafe Barjot scale up to satisfy two-block Capitol Hill dinner crowds

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

They’re not necessarily destination restaurants but there is a new set of small, neighborhood dinners spots around the Hill ready to serve their thousands of walking-distance neighbors.

“We did so very little marketing but I asked for an email blast to the building,” Wylie Bush tells us about drumming up customers for a few quiet test nights of dinner at Bellevue Ave’s Cafe Barjot. The cafe space in the Belroy Apartments development will officially open for dinner next week. Born as a daytime sibling to nearby Joe Bar this summer, Barjot is now ready to add nighttime duty with a small but powerful dinner menu and European-style cocktails. Nick Coffey, formerly of Sitka and Spruce, runs the kitchen and turned out pork sausage, ravioli, and delicata squash for the first nighttime run in the cafe space.

“It’s such an awesome space,” Bush said of the buildout originally completed for the ill-fated Chico Madrid project. “It felt natural.”

Juicebox for dinner
12th Ave also is adding a natural place for dinner but after a much longer test run than Barjot. Continue reading

In Capitol Hill tech M&A, Redfin closes deal for 12th Ave’s Walk Score

Team Walk Score in front of a familiar Capitol Hill landmark (Image: Walk Score)

Team Walk Score in front of a familiar Capitol Hill landmark (Image: Walk Score)

Employees may not buy flashy new cars in celebration but there are probably going to be at least a few pairs of fancy new shoes on display around 12th Ave this week after Capitol Hill-headquartered start-up Walk Score’s big deal with Seattle-based online real estate company Redfin:

The real estate brokerage today is announcing the acquisition of Walk Score, a 10-person Seattle company that ranks millions of addresses across the country based on their walkability, bikeability or proximity to public transportation. It does this on a scale of 1 to 100 by measuring the distance from a specific addresses to certain neighborhood amenities, such as schools, restaurants, libraries and coffee shops.

Walk Score creates technology to measure walkability, bikeability and proximity to public transportation. You can check out your address’s score here. In 2012, the company secured a $2 million first round of financing.

The tie-up, Mobilisafe CEO Giri Sreenivas points out, marks the second recent successful “exit” for tenants of the Hunters Capital-owned Ballou Wright building on 12th Ave:

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Capitol Hill food+drink | What’s it mean to be home to the 6th best bar in the world? 12th Ave whiskey and bitters emporium Canon will show you

IMG_0278Ask two people on Capitol Hill for the best bar in the Seattle Inner City and you’ll get three different opinions. But somehow, the industry journal Drinks International is able to rank the 50 best bars in the entire world. This year 12th Ave’s Canon came in at number 6.

What does that mean for you, dear Capitol Hill drinker?

Since it opened in 2011 with a 12-page menu, Canon has steadily grown and tweaked its dizzying selection of spirits, bitters, and ornate cocktails. It now boasts one of the largest spirit menus in the country — a 130-page tome (PDF) that represents around $1 million worth of inventory.

Owner Jamie Boudreau said the recently released top ranking took him by surprise. Even though Seattle’s high-end food+drink culture has grown by leaps and bounds, Boudreau said the city is still considered quite provincial in the craft cocktail world.

“To crack the top ten when I know the judges are always in New York, always in London, always in Chicago, it’s impressive,” he said. “To have a recognition of Seattle’s cocktail culture is really great. It’s nice that the city is starting to get noticed.”


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CHS Pics | Since 1937, a Taste of Russia on Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

IMG_7564Even as its neighborhood grows up around it, 13th Ave’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral continued 77 years of tradition Saturday with a day of crafts, caviar and vodka.

The annual Taste of Russia celebration on Capitol Hill usually coincides with the relatively gargantuan Greek Festival down in Montlake. On 13th, the lines were shorter and you could find way more caviar. Uncle Vanya’s Vodka Hunt surely finished off any regrets over missed gyros.

Consecrated in December 1937, Saint Nicholas has remained part of the neighborhood long after the communities it serves have drifted off the Hill and even as other are connections to the Motherland have been targeted for protest. Still, it remains an active and colorful neighborhood landmark — especially on the yearly Taste of Russia Saturday.

Last year, a construction project some 80 years in waiting was finished to complete the original plans for the cathedral.

The cathedral is located at 1714 13th Ave. You can learn more at

More pictures, below.


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City Council vote will pave way for new youth detention center at 12th and Alder

12th and Alder in a design rendering of "Concept A"

12th and Alder in a design rendering of “Concept A”

UPDATE: The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 Monday in favor of a land use bill that will give King County the ability to replace its crumbling Youth Detention Center at 12th and Alder.

Land use bills rarely evoke significant emotion or public attention, but Monday’s meeting drew a number of public commenters who opposed spending more money on a youth detention system that disproportionately detains African Americans.

Council member Kshama Sawant cast the lone “no” vote, saying the county should instead use a fraction of the estimated $200 million to repair the currently crumbling Youth Services Center and spend the rest on youth jobs programs. Council member Mike O’Brien said it was not up to the council to decide whether or not to continue investments in youth detention and that the old facility needed to be replaced.

Council members passed an amendment to the bill that would delay the implementation of the zoning changes until April 2015 so a racial impact study of building a new detention facility could be complete.

In 2012, 55% of voters approved a $210 million levy to build the new 144-bed facility. The existing center has 210 beds. Detention data shows the current center is typically less than half full.

The council bill would alter the zoning code to allow for construction of the new center, even though one already exists on the 9-acre site. The new facility, called the Children and Family Justice Center, will also include a courtroom and gymnasium:

The project includes building a new 136,992 square foot (sf) courthouse with 10 courtrooms, a new 98,031 sf juvenile detention facility with 154 dorms, and a new four-level parking structure with 440 spaces. The existing buildings will be demolished, leaving 2.8 acres of the county-owned property at 12th Avenue and Alder Street unused.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.41.47 PM

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Broadway Veterinary Hospital ready to provide Capitol Hill’s pets care morning, noon and night

The big, new, rotating sign on 12th Ave

The big, new, rotating sign on 12th Ave

In a city that happens to boast more canines than children, it should come as no surprise that pup-loving Capitol Hill has experienced a boom in dog-related businesses over the last few years. But these days, Broadway Veterinary Hospital sees a lot more than just routine visits from your average Fido and feline.

“Ferrets, rabbits, rodents, chickens, and I’ve seen my fair share of goats as well,” says owner and doctor of veterinary medicine Greg McWilliams about his range of clientele.

You may have noticed the newly raised red rotating sign on 12th Ave or extended hours — now open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm — just a couple of changes Broadway Veterinary Hospital has seen since McWilliams took over the practice in December of 2013.

Pet owners now have a new option for emergency care. Aside from wellness visits, vaccines, neuters, and dental, the hospital’s new emergency services mean the hospital can offer preventative and interventional care to combat severe illnesses and assist animals in critical care conditions.

A recent patient (Image: CHS)

A recent patient (Image: CHS)

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First-of-its-kind Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing building breaks ground on 12th Ave


(Images: CHS)

As the area ponders two new developments on the edges of Capitol Hill, a one-of-a-kind project in the heart of the Hill moved forward last week with a few little scoops and a big milestone.

Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing, a communal development where each resident is an equal member of a company that owns the entire project, broke ground Friday night next to the old 12th Ave masonry building that will be demolished to make way for four stories of co-ownership, co-construction, and co-management.
Continue reading

Final designs unveiled for four-story Stencil at 24/Union, six-story Decibel at 11/Alder

You can someday walk across the street to Uncle Ike's from the planned Stencil building (Images: Johnston Architects)

You can someday walk across the street to Uncle Ike’s from the planned Stencil building (Images: Johnston Architects)

Two development projects in neighborhoods on the edges of Capitol Hill undergoing significant change will take what could be their final steps in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.02.07 PM

Look, a violin shop :)

2407 E Union
The second of two projects near 23rd and Union from developer Lake Union Partners had a pretty smooth go of its first East Design Board review earlier this year.

The four-story Stencil project is being planned as a 39-unit apartment building with 3,000 square feet of retail and two live/work units at ground level. The building will contain parking for 21 vehicles. In April, the board seemed amenable to the project’s few zoning departure requests and public comment was mostly about details like bulk, privacy and landscaping. Continue reading

No fear — You can still buy a Ferrari (or two) on Capitol Hill

If you were worried by the construction going on inside its 12th at Union showroom that you might have to rush to buy your new Ferrari before Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle leaves Capitol Hill, fear not.

The dealership isn’t going anywhere. Good news for those enjoying the soaring incomes of Seattle — and Bellevue, for that matter.

CHS has received a few notes asking about the dealership — the last auto retailer left on Capitol Hill — and whether it is joining the road traveled by other Hill dealerships that have shifted gears into new locations with room for spacious showrooms like SoDo.

CHS reported here way back in March 2012 on our last of its kind auto dealership’s plans to revamp its showroom and facilities in the 12th Ave building it has owned since the late 90s. 

The Perrina family owns the land its dealership calls home, acquiring the parcels in 1999 for $3.5 million. The dealership encompasses 33,000 square feet in warehouse and garage space, a 600 square-foot office and a 2,100 square-foot showroom. It also includes a small 135 square-foot parking lot that exits onto 11th Ave and is a good place to see the high performance cars heading out for a run in Pike/Pine. The single-story buildings the dealership calls home date to 1913, according to county records.

Meanwhile, the company behind the dealership hasn’t yet revealed plans for the E Madison auto-row era garage it purchased for $2.25 million a year ago this month. With neighboring business Chop Suey still apparently for sale, you can let your super fast car imagination run wild.

The project to overhaul the 12th at Union showroom boasts only a modest $340,000 construction budget, according to city records, though those totals typically don’t include costs for finishings and equipment. Meanwhile, cars worth from $120,000 to more than $380,000 continue to be sold. So, let’s see. Under the transit tax on November’s ballot, a big sale would mean $380 to fund Seattle bus routes. Thanks, fancy car buyers!